- Title: Safed Haari Ephardic Synagogue 001
The Ari Sephardic Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in Safed. Historical sources refer to this building as early as 1522, and tell us that the synagogue was used by North African Jews and was known at the time as the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue. During his time in Safed during the 16th century, the Ari frequently prayed in this synagogue, preferring this location over others mainly due to the fact that its windows looked out onto Mt. Meron and the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai.
It is said that the Ari liked to sit in a little alcove on the eastern side of the synagogue, studying Kabbalah, and that while he was absorbed in his studies, the prophet Elijah, his personal Maggid, appeared. The synagogue was apparently given its present name in the seventeenth century in order to honor the Ari.
Despite its ancient, fortress-like appearance, not much of the original synagogue is left. Most of the structure was destroyed in the massive earthquakes that struck Safed in 1759 and 1837. In 1840, the Italian Jewish philanthropist Yitzhak Guetta donated money for the renovation of the synagogue and a plaque commemorating his efforts hangs above the entrance to the building.
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- Keywords: synagogue, ephardic, haari, safed
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